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Extras force Cubs to consider pitching options

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PITTSBURGH -- Carlos Villanueva is still scheduled to start Sunday for the Cubs, but manager Rick Renteria said Thursday that he and pitching coach Chris Bosio will discuss their options on Friday when they return to Chicago.

Villanueva won a spot in the rotation this spring, but pitched in relief in the first two games Monday and Wednesday, which both went extra innings. The right-hander threw eight pitches on Monday, and another 22 in 1 1/3 innings on Wednesday.

Renteria said he would meet with the Cubs' front office on Friday prior to the team's first home game. Villanueva would've thrown a side session on Thursday, but did not because of his innings in games. Jose Veras and Wesley Wright, who both pitched in Wednesday's 16-inning game, were not available on Thursday against the Pirates, Renteria said.

"Everybody else is OK for a little bit of work," Renteria said.

The Cubs have played 26 innings in their first two games, the first time they've opened the season with back-to-back extra inning contests since 1964.

"We're moving in the right direction with our mentality and attitude, quite frankly," Renteria said. "We want to win every game and that's not changed. We're going to keep going after it. Sooner or later, they'll start to fall."

Losing extra-inning games can be difficult for a team to overcome.

"It's deflating if you want it to be," Renteria said. "I'm not going to come in here and have these guys laying down and being sad. I'm going to play my music, and I'll come in here every single day ready to go. You say I have a lot of energy, well, that's what I want those guys to have, too."

His music tastes? Everything from rock to pop to salsa to jazz.

"Whatever it takes," Renteria said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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